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Sausage fest. Yeah, you heard me.

Taste test: Frying up the first pattie after making a batch of fresh sausage.

Sausage.  Just the one word is enough to make you jump out of your chair and run through a window with delight.

Well, it is for me.

I first tried making my own sausage a few years ago after I was able to invest in a meat grinder for my KitchenAid stand mixer.  I bought the meat grinder with the intention of using it for making my own ground beef for burgers (something you NEED to try) but the bonus was the ability to make stellar, simple sausage.

I’ll provide a recipe here for how I generally make sausage but like many things that I cook, I rarely do it the same way twice.  Sausage presents an opportunity for endless variation and experimentation and I definitely encourage you to do the same.

I tend to go an Italian-ish route usually, which is just a base of toasted fennel seed, lots of black pepper and some Italian herbs such as oregano and thyme that flavour some pork butt. Spike that with some cayenne or hot paprika and you’ve created your own sausage fest.

The right cut of pork is important for sausage. I go with just a pork butt roast as it has very tasty meat and a good amount of fat.   It’s like a perfectly pre-mixed blend of meats ready to become sausage. Thanks very much pigs!

You can find local pork cuts from a good butcher (Kuinshoeve Meats in Rothesay for example) or the pork butts at the major grocers are usually priced well and are all Canadian pork (at least the last time I asked the fella at the meat counter).

Sausage!

3 lbs pork butt roast, chopped into small cubes, bits, etc.

2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 small onion)

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cayenne powder or hot paprika (optional)

A hefty pinch each of oregano, thyme, or other dried herbs of your choice

Cut up the pork butt roast and leave it on your cutting board.  Sprinkle the chopped garlic and chopped onion over the pork.  Heat a small stainless steel fry pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes then add the fennel seeds.  Stir often until the seeds are fragrant and are slightly browned (be careful not to burn). Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle (or use a spice grinder if you’re Mr. Lazy Pants) and add the peppercorns.  Grind to a fine powder .  Add the salt, cayenne or paprika and herbs to the seeds and grind to combine.  Sprinkle all of this evenly over the pork.  Use your (clean) hands to massage the herbs and spices into the pork.  The pork can now be place in a bowl and chilled in the refrigerator until it’s ground later, or you can grind right away.  Grind the pork in your meat grinder.  From here, you can make sausages with real or collagen casings, or you can just form the meat into patties and fry as it is.

Getting things started with toasted fennel and chopped pork.

Grind the seeds, pepper and herbs and sprinkle on the pork.

Flavoured up, ready to grind.

Back to the grind. The flavourful meat becomes sausage magic.

Ground and ready to be made into sausage links or patties.